Social media threats made at LaGrange High, Gardner Newman, Callaway High

Published 5:13 pm Thursday, September 16, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Social media threats were made for three Troup County School System campuses on Thursday, and one student has been detained about possibly being involved in making at least one of the threats.

The posts were all made on Snapchat and were about LaGrange High School, Gardner Newman Middle School and Callaway High School, according to Assistant Superintendent Chip Medders.

The threats at LHS and CHS were shooting threats and the one at GNMS was a bomb threat. CHS’ threat referenced a specific date of Sept. 22. This is the second threat made at LHS in the last two weeks. The first was a bomb threat on Sept. 7.

A Gardner Newman student has been detained in relation to the threat at GNMS, according to a LaGrange Police Department press release. It’s unclear if that student had any involvement in the other threats.

At this point, the LaGrange Police Department and Troup County Sheriff’s Office have found no validity to any of the threats.

“We take everything like this very serious, whether we think it’s credible or not we treat them all as if they are credible,” said LHS Principal Alton White. “We follow up with law enforcement. We follow their suggestions. We have a school safety plan that we follow. And you know our number one goal is to make sure that our kids and teachers and staff are safe.”

White said he was first alerted to Thursday’s Snapchat threat by a teacher, who received the message from a parent around 9 p.m. Wednesday.

“LaGrange Police Department had additional law enforcement in the parking lot and on campus before school,” White said. “And we had additional law enforcement throughout the building.”

White said Thursday’s threat involved the LHS cafeteria and Building E at the school. Students were excused if they were absent Thursday, and attendance was down. However, he said the students who were at school went to class like normal.

“It was an uneventful day at school,” White said. “We had school like we normally would. Kids were in class. We even had some professional learning going on for some of our teachers.”

The GNMS and CHS threats came in later in the day on Thursday.

Lt. Mark Cavender with the LaGrange Police Department said there will be an increased law enforcement presence at LHS and GNMS in the morning.

Sgt. Stewart Smith said the TCSO is also going to have extra deputies floating throughout the day at CHS as well. School resource officers will also be present, as normal.

“Both our investigators and LaGrange detectives are going to work together on this as a lot of these Snapchat messages are very similar in nature, so it’s definitely going to be a team effort,” Smith said.

Cavender said when the person responsible is identified they will be charged with making terroristic threats.

Chip Medders, assistant superintendent, said the staffs at all three schools handled the situations well on Thursday. TCSS is following its plan for these sort of situations.

“Our staff has done a great job at LaGrange High School today, and I have no doubt the staffs at Callaway High and Gardner Newman are going to do the exact same thing,” Medders said. “We plan for these things to happen, unfortunately, but when they do happen we have a plan in place to react appropriately.”